The Civil Liberties Show

Bob Hubbard

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[font=Arial, Helvetica]The Civil Liberties Show
http://www.lp.org/article_171.shtml

It was reported in the Washington Post on Monday that the civil liberties board, whose main goal is to make sure individual rights are not trampled upon during our so-called "War on Terror," has yet to meet and is under-funded by the Bush administration. Created by Congress last year, the board consists of five members nominated by the president to act as an independent watchdog against potential abuses of the Patriot Act.



President Bush took six months to appoint five members to the panel as reported in the Washington Post. In his proposed budget for fiscal year 2006, he allocated $750,000 for the panel, while a similar panel in the Department of Homeland Security has a budget of $13 million. As House Republican Christopher Shay commented, "It's not a priority for the administration."



Even more alarming is that the civil liberties panel lacks any subpoena powers or independent authority. It is a watchdog with no teeth. It is apparent that the civil liberties panel was created by the Bush administration to pay lip service to those who have criticized the Patriot Act. The panel has no power or authority to properly investigate violations of the Patriot Act.



Additionally, the current Republican administration has signaled - by making this panel a low priority - that law enforcement agencies have free rein.



The very fact that a panel has been established shows that there is the potential of abuse under the Patriot Act. The Bush administration and Congress are required to take this issue seriously. It's time for our government to stop "putting on a show" regarding civil liberties and to start looking out for the rights of all Americans.

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Bob Hubbard

Bob Hubbard

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Digging deeper:

"Asked why it was taking so long to set the board up, Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) said, "It's not a priority for the administration."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/07/AR2005080700903.html





Press Release

For Immediate Release

June 30, 2005


Contact: Afshin Mohamadi (Maloney)
202-225-7944
Sarah Moore (Shays)
202-225-5541
Glen Loveland (Udall)
202-225-1213


Civil Liberties Board Gets a Real Budget to Begin With

Only $750K was allocated, but Reps. Maloney, Shays and Udall successfully attached amendment to double the budget

WASHINGTON, DC - After a deal struck on the House floor last night, the initial budget of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board created in last year’s landmark 9/11 Commission bill will be doubled to $1.5 million. The board would have had a $750,000 budget under the original FY06 Transportation, Treasury and Housing Appropriations bill, which is now on the House floor. Recognizing that such a level of funding is insufficient for a board tasked with monitoring civil liberties at multiple federal departments, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Christopher Shays (R-CT) - Chairs of the 9/11 Commission Caucus - and Tom Udall (D-NM) offered the amendment to expand the board’s beginning budget.

“If we are serious about upholding privacy and civil liberties, then we should give the new board resources to do its work,” said Maloney. “In order for this board to do real work, it needs a real budget. I thank Chairmen Lewis and Knollenberg and Ranking Members Obey and Olver for their understanding. This increase is a much better starting point for the board.”

“The 9/11 Commission stated, ‘…if our liberties are curtailed, we lose the values that we are struggling to defend.’ It is vital we find a balance between protecting our homeland and protecting our civil liberties,” Shays said. “Providing a workable budget for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is essential to striking that balance, and I’m grateful we were able to negotiate acceptance of this amendment.”

“We wanted a budget increase because the original level of funding was simply not enough for a board charged with monitoring privacy and civil liberties, implications of federal regulations, executive branch policies and procedures, and public law,” Udall said. “We are pleased that we have managed to double the budget, and we will together to see that the board is given the resources it needs.”

A government-wide Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was created by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (Public Law 108-458). The additional funding will allow the board to begin to develop the infrastructure it needs to do its job and sends a message that Congress fully intends to support this important board.

On June 10 of this year, President Bush made his appointments to the board - the confirmation of the Chair and Vice Chair is still pending.

###
http://www.house.gov/maloney/press/109th/20050630CivilLibsBoard.htm





Giving Teeth to the Civil Liberties Board Recommended By the 9/11
March 15, 2005

Giving Teeth to the Civil Liberties Board Recommended By the 9/11 Commission; Bipartisan Legislation Introduced President budgeted no money for the board, has made no appointments to it

The Civil Liberties Board that oversees all federal intelligence and security agencies has been made powerless, according to a 9/11 Commission member, the ACLU and Members of Congress. They stood together on Capitol Hill today as Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen the board, which was envisioned by the 9/11 Commission and created in last year's landmark intelligence reform bill.

9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, Voices of September 11 th Founder Mary Fetchet and Timothy Edgar of the ACLU joined Maloney and Udall at today's press conference. The bill's sponsors stressed the need for increased civil liberties protections during the War on Terrorism.

"We need to give the Civil Liberties Board teeth if civil liberties are to be upheld," said Maloney , Chair of the House Democratic Task Force on Homeland Security. "The president doesn't seem committed to a strong guardian of civil liberties. However, America ceases to be the 'land of the free' if civil liberties are infringed upon, and the 9/11 Commission recognized that. We must uphold those ideals while fighting the war on terrorism."

"This bill is important to both our security and our civil liberties," said Shays . "As a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, the Civil Liberties Review Board is critical to ensuring we keep our country safe without sacrificing the principles upon which our government was established."

"The 9/11 Commission concluded that the choice between liberty and security is a false choice," said Ben-Veniste . "The shift of greater power and authority to government must be accompanied by an enhanced system of check and balances to protect the precious personal liberties that define our way of life."

"The 9/11 Commission has recommended sweeping government reforms," said Fetchet . "It is crucial that an independent, bipartisan civil liberties board is established with the necessary oversight to ensure that our rights as Americans are not infringed upon."

Among other measures, the Protection of Civil Liberties Act would:

* make the Civil Liberties Board independent by moving out of the Executive Office of the President;
* give the Board subpoena power; and
* ensure that the Board reports to Congress.

COSPONSORS OF LEGISLATION (24): Reps. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), Tom Udall (NM-3), Christopher Shays (CT-4), Julia Carson (IN-7), Sanders (VT), Ed Case (HI-2), Bob Filner (CA-51), Elijah Cummings (MD-7), Mike Honda (CA-15), Tammy Baldwin (WI-2), Betty McCollum (MN-4), George Miller (CA-7), Frank Pallone (NJ-6), Brian Baird (WA-3), Major Owens (NY-11), Lynn Woolsey (CA-6), Charles Gonzales (TX-20), Susan Davis (CA-53), Steve Israel (NY-2), Diane Watson (CA-33), Barbara Lee (CA-9), Robert Wexler (FL-19), Bobby Scott (VA-03), Chris Van Hollen (MD-8).

Section-by-section description of legislation:

Sec. 1 - Short Title

Sec. 2 - Findings

Sec. 3 - Making the Board independent

Establishes the Board as an independent agency within the Executive Branch rather than within the Executive Office of the President.

Sec. 4 - Board membership

Section 1061 Subsection(e)(1) Requires that all Board members be confirmed by the Senate, structures the Board as consisting of one Chairman and four additional members, and makes the Chairman full-time.

Subsection(e)(2) Requires that Board members have expertise in civil liberties and privacy issues, requires that no more than three members of the Board be of the same political party, and requires that the President consult with the congressional leadership before he or she appoints a Board member of the opposing party.

Subsection(e)(3) Disallows elected officials, officers, or employees of the Federal government from serving as Board members.

Subsection(e)(4) Requires that Board members serve staggered six-year terms, except in certain cases. A Board member appointed after the start of a term will finish the remainder of that term, and a Board member can continue to serve up to sixty days after six years if the member's successor has not yet been approved.

Subsection(e)(5) Stipulates that the Board meet upon the chairman's call, or the call of three Board members.

Sec. 5 - Subpoena Power

Gives the Board subpoena power, and requires that failure to obey a subpoena be met with a district court order.

Sec. 6 (Part 1) - Reporting Requirements

Section 1061 Subsection(c)(4)(A) Requires that Board members submit semiannual reports, in unclassified form to the greatest extent possible, to congressional committees, and stipulates that reports include major Board activities, advice and oversight functions, minority views, and proposal that despite Board opposition, were implemented.

Subsection(c)(4)(B) Requires that the Board make its reports available to the public and hold public hearings to the greatest extent possible consistent with protection of classified information.

Sec. 6 (Part 2) - Privacy and Civil Liberties Officers

Section 1062 Subsection(a) Requires that the Board designate a senior official in each of fifteen intelligence agencies as a privacy and civil liberties officer.

Subsection(a)(1-3) Requires that the Officer assist the Department in considering privacy and civil liberties concerns in its policies, ensure Department adequately considers privacy and civil liberties in its operations, and ensure that complaints about privacy and civil liberties abuses are met with action.

Subsection(a)(4) Requires that the Officer consider, in giving advice to the Department, the need for the power being proposed, whether the need for the power is adequately balanced with the need to protect civil liberties, and whether adequate supervision of the power and oversight guidelines exist.

Subsection(b) Clarifies that Departments that already have Privacy Officers should adhere to the above requirements.

Subsection(c) Requires that the Officer reports to the head of the Department and coordinate activities with the Department Inspector General.

Subsection(d) Requires that the head of the Departments give the Officer full access to information and personnel.

Subsection(e) Stipulates that disciplinary action must not be taken against an employee who brings a complaint to the Board unless the employee knowingly submitted false information.

Subsection(f) Requires Officer to submit quarterly report to congressional committee, the Board, and head of the Department, and requires that reports include information about reviews taken by the Officer, advice provided, complaints received, and their results.

Subsection(g) Requires that Officers make congressional reports available to the public.

Subsection(h) Stipulates that this law will not limit responsibilities of officer previously provided by law.

Subsection(i) Ensures compliance with protections for human research subjects.

http://www.voicesofsept11.org/911ic/031505.htm
 

Rich Parsons

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Civil Liberties ------ Home Land Security


I think those in charge are will to look at it like you cannot get both, so we must sacrafice one. :(
 

Feisty Mouse

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Sad, very sad.

It seems that people have forgotten what makes our country truly great - its ideals of liberty and freedom...rather than bankrupting the nation to give gifts to multinational corporations, and continue a war on a noun.

But I digress.
 
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MisterMike

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Has anyone's rights been trampled as of late? I mean, has any U.S. citizen been affected, other than by what is on paper in the Patriot Act (which I agree does go against the grain of the Constitution in some ways)?
 

Rich Parsons

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MisterMike said:
Has anyone's rights been trampled as of late? I mean, has any U.S. citizen been affected, other than by what is on paper in the Patriot Act (which I agree does go against the grain of the Constitution in some ways)?

Peoples houses taken for Corproate development, but that is outlined in the US Constitution.

Travel by plane recently?

Been anywhere, and have you call you a name, and your family has been here since 1620 AD and married into the local Natives as well, but you happen to look like the "Bad Guys" so you are watched, questioned, etc, ..., .

Oh I digress ;)
 
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MisterMike

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Rich Parsons said:
Peoples houses taken for Corproate development, but that is outlined in the US Constitution.

Travel by plane recently?

Been anywhere, and have you call you a name, and your family has been here since 1620 AD and married into the local Natives as well, but you happen to look like the "Bad Guys" so you are watched, questioned, etc, ..., .

Oh I digress ;)

Hehe, thanks Mr. Parsons.

I have heard of some of those, but I was focusing more on those rights affected by the Patriot Act.

I have traveled by plane and have seen the slowdown due to checkpoints on luggage and shoe checks, etc.

But has anyone had their email, phone or mail wire tapped or opened?
Has any citizen been detained and denied a lawyer?

While the laws are on the books and I disagree with some, I'm just more curious if there has been any abuse and should the "priority" as the U.S Senator from CT mentioned be raised on getting a council in to review the practices.

So while there are disagreable things on the books, and some put into praqctice, are there any abuses?

(And this is open for anyone to chime in, not just directed to Mr. Parsons.) ;)
 
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MisterMike

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michaeledward said:
Yaser Esam Hamdi - U.S. citizen

Jose Padilla - U.S. citizen

Yaser Esam Hamdi, a Saudi-American held in U.S. solitary confinement for nearly three years without charges, was released and returned to Saudi Arabia in October after the Justice Department said he no longer posed a threat to the United States. Hamdi, who was captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2001, gave up his American citizenship as part of the conditions of his release.

I'd say he gave it up when he went to fight for them.



Jose Padilla - Former Chicago gang member Jose Padilla is also being held in the Naval brig as an enemy combatant. Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member, was accused of plotting to detonate a "dirty bomb" in the United states.

Sounds like an upstanding young man. But I'll give it to you. Sounds like were at about 2 "citizens" out of 300 Million? Although I wouldn't designate a thread to counting them all as it might not grow too quickly.


I think the detaining is debateable as an issue when it comes to U.S. security. Looks and sounds like they have enough evidence on these guys to support keeping them off the streets or releasing them on personal recognizance :D
 

michaeledward

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MisterMike said:
Has anyone's rights been trampled as of late? I mean, has any U.S. citizen been affected, other than by what is on paper in the Patriot Act (which I agree does go against the grain of the Constitution in some ways)?
You asked if anyone's rights have been trampled.

Mister Padilla and Mister Hamdi had their rights as U.S. citizens withheld.

Explain it away in any manner you see fit. The government giveth, the government taketh away.
 

shesulsa

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MisterMike said:
Has anyone's rights been trampled as of late? I mean, has any U.S. citizen been affected, other than by what is on paper in the Patriot Act (which I agree does go against the grain of the Constitution in some ways)?
People's rights are trampled upon every day, what are you talking about? The problem is it doesn't always make the 5:00 news or the front page, and even when it does, nobody cares.
 
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MisterMike

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shesulsa said:
People's rights are trampled upon every day, what are you talking about? The problem is it doesn't always make the 5:00 news or the front page, and even when it does, nobody cares.

I was asking about rights infringed by abuse of the Patriot Act. So far, we are up to a couple of detentions.
 

michaeledward

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And, let us theorize for a moment ...

Suppose I was walking down the street on my way to meet a client. With me, I carry my portable computer and some papers associated with work.

If the security apparatus stops me, and asks to review the contents of my travel case, can I refuse? If I refuse, will the security apparatus force me to take a different route to my client? Will they detain me until such time as I acquisce to their demands? Have I just lost the right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure?

This is occuring every day on the public transportation systems in New York and other major metropolitan areas.

Here are some names to add to that list:
  • Brendan MacWade
  • Partha Banerjee
  • Joseph Gehring
  • Norman Murphy
  • Andrew Schonebaum
http://www.aclu.org/PolicePractices/PolicePractices.cfm?ID=18885&c=119
 
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MisterMike

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michaeledward said:
And, let us theorize for a moment ...

Suppose I was walking down the street on my way to meet a client. With me, I carry my portable computer and some papers associated with work.

If the security apparatus stops me, and asks to review the contents of my travel case, can I refuse? If I refuse, will the security apparatus force me to take a different route to my client? Will they detain me until such time as I acquisce to their demands? Have I just lost the right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure?

This is occuring every day on the public transportation systems in New York and other major metropolitan areas.

Here are some names to add to that list:
  • Brendan MacWade
  • Partha Banerjee
  • Joseph Gehring
  • Norman Murphy
  • Andrew Schonebaum
http://www.aclu.org/PolicePractices/PolicePractices.cfm?ID=18885&c=119


Good point. We have to all agree on unreasonable. When I get stopped for a traffic violation, and they automatically go through my trunk looking for empties and roach clips, is that unreasonable?

Who is the greater threat? Me, or the guy with a laptop lined with a strip charge.
 

michaeledward

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MisterMike said:
Good point. We have to all agree on unreasonable. When I get stopped for a traffic violation, and they automatically go through my trunk looking for empties and roach clips, is that unreasonable?

Who is the greater threat? Me, or the guy with a laptop lined with a strip charge.
Are we talking about 'threats' or 'civil liberties'? If there is a threat, does it desolve the liberty? If it does, is there such a thing as liberty, at all, or is it just an illusion that we all agree upon?

When I walk into the Penn and Teller show in Vegas, I know everyone in the room agrees to be decieved, and allows themselves to be tricked. Are we really willing to put these precious things, 'civil liberties', in the same category of disbelief we ascribe to a magician, or movie director?
 

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